Tag: personal

Three Days of Storm (Short story)

Part 1 of 4

         Prologue

She stared ahead at the beautiful view in front of her. She had always loved to come here, it was just so peaceful and pleasant. She wondered why it was mostly deserted. It was on a cliff which is steep but it has a lake at the bottom and you can literally feel the nature but it’s a long walk and the roads are not in a good condition but she never minded. She found this place when she was thirteen, she needed to be away from everything and just be alone for a while. It was a difficult time for her, she had just moved here to live with her grandmother after her parents died in a car crash when she was 12.

She used to come here and cry her eyes out because she pretended to be strong in front of her nana but she saw through her easily yet never said anything. She plopped on a stone nearby and just watched the sun set, it was the most amazing thing she had experienced till now. She sat there for a while just enjoying her alone time before getting back to reality. She wished she could bring her dad here; he would have loved it even more than she did. She sighed and shut her eyes tight, she didn’t want to cry she decided it was time to let go of her parents but she had learned that letting go is not easy as everyone thinks. It had been a long time and she had made her peace with the fact that her mom and dad are never coming back.

It has been a long time since she came here last. Last time she came here was four years ago then she just stopped. She needed a clean break. You must be wondering if she loved this place why she stopped. Well it’s a long story. She stopped coming here after everything that happened four years ago during the three days of storm. It changed her life forever in a good and bad way. It all started in a way right here but it was sure the beginning of something she didn’t see coming.

                                                                      FLASHBACK

Her phone vibrated in her pocket making her jump. Rosalie, shit, she had promised to go this stupid college reunion party with her and now she was late, Rose was going to kill her. “Hello.” She answered in a normal tone even though she knew what was coming next.

“April Cassie Spader. Where the hell are you? I have been waiting for you to show up for the last 30 minutes or so. I am so angry at you April Cassie Spader.” She said furiously.

She must be really mad at her if she is middle naming her; she is just short in the patience department and in the temper one too. “Hi to you as well.” She retorted sarcastically.

“You promised you will come. We graduated few months back we might not see these college people again for a long time and it is going to be awesome. So, get your ass here now.” She screamed the last part so loud that April had to hold her phone away from her ear. Jeez, she is loud, she thought but then again she already knew it.

“I am not dressed. I will be there in say forty?” She asked trying not to laugh at her crazy best friend. It was just a party but for Rose unlike April this was the coolest thing that could happen. What had she done to have a friend like her she will never know,

“I will text Adam, he will pick you up. Better be ready in twenty or…” she trailed off. The line went silent for a while.

“Or what?” She asked. She was pressing her luck here, she didnt want to end up on the wrong side of her best friend; she will remind you of this for the rest of your life. April had seen it before, that poor guy who spilled his drink on her. The memory brought a smile to her face.

“I will never speak to you again.” She said after a long pause. April snorted as if it will happen. She calls her up even if she kills a fly.

Rose hung up before she could respond. She picked her bag and made her way home. The weather had been pretty rough for a few days now, a storm is predicted. She unlocked the door and heard voices in the kitchen. She didn’t know they were having guests. She walked into the kitchen and there was Kyle sitting on the counter laughing with nana most likely on his own joke. “Kyle.” She said in a polite tone even though she new he would annoy her soon enough.

“April, nice to see you too.” He said smirking at her. He is such a bully; he always troubled her even as a child. He is four years older than her and often used this as a weapon when they were little, even now. She shook her head getting all the Kyle related thoughts away. He made her life miserable when she started living here and couldn’t they have nice neighbors, he is so irritating. She was getting angry even though he barely did anything right now.

She just shook her head; she won’t let him bother her anymore. “Nana, I am going to a party tonight. Adam is picking me up in a while.” She said directly to her wonderful nana avoiding any arguments with Kyle.

“Oh, I didn’t know you had a boyfriend.” Kyle said before nana could reply. She flushed, her cheeks turning bright pink. He didn’t just say that, she didn’t understand how he found out about her feelings for Adam she never told him. Even Rose didn’t know for God’s sake, she was her best friend even Adam was but you get the point.

“He is just a friend.” She said confidently trying to hide her embarrassment; she hated him so freaking much. If nana was not here, she would have punched him. Nana always thought he was such decent boy.

She got ready in a simple green dress used some make up and was ready to go. She made sure she looked good because Adam was picking her up; she wanted to look good for him. He was such a nice guy, she didn’t have any friends except him and Rose but Rose didn’t know that she was in love with him. She felt guilty about it but she thinks Rose won’t be able to understand and will make her do something she might regret later. She wished she could just tell him and get it over with, it was very frustrating keeping it stored up inside like this. The door bell rang and she ran down the stairs in a hurry almost tripping on her way. She was smiling like a little kid on Christmas morning; Adam does have that effect on her. She opened the door and almost fainted seeing him, he looked so good. She felt so plain in front of him, he smiled and kissed her cheek like always but it didn’t stop the blushing. She said bye to nana and Kyle since he still hadn’t left, he looked at her with a weird look in his eyes like he was trying to figure her out  but she didn’t want to dwell on it.

“Hey, hope I am not late.” Adam asked and helped her into his car. “You look good by the way; green is definitely your color.” He said hopping in the driver’s seat.

Her cheeks turned red once again. “Thanks, you don’t look so bad yourself.” She complimented him and he just smiled showing his dimples.

She glanced his way, his eyes focused on the road. He looked good in that white fitting shirt and faded jeans. He is tall, dark and handsome just perfect in every way. His phone rang, he sighed and then answered. “Yes, Rose we are on our way.” He replied with an amusing expression on his face.

He said something more but she was too busy checking him out. “This girl is impossible; she has been harassing me for an hour.” He said.

April giggled and shook her head. “Takes one to know. You have to drop me home ok? That too before 1 or 2, Nana worries.” She added making him chuckle.

“ Yeah. No worries.” He said looking at her with a smile before turning his gaze ahead again. “Here we are.” He said after a few minutes.

We were parked in front of some house which she had never seen before. Whose is throwing this party? She was here but she had no clue. Adam looked at her confused state and chuckled. “Patrick, the guy, who use to sit beside you in art. It’s his party.” He said.

“If it wasn’t for Rose I wouldn’t even be here.” She said and we started walking to the house. Patrick never even said a word to her through college life, she felt weird showing up at his party like this.

“Finally, about time.” Rose came to us pushing people out of her way. She hugged April squeezing her to death. “You look really pretty. Come on let’s find you guy.” She said excitedly and ushered her inside. Adam was trailing behind them quietly.

“I don’t want you to find a guy.” She said and making Rose roll her eyes. “You always set me up with weirdoes; I don’t think I trust your choice anymore.” She remarked.

Rose stopped walking and faced them. “I do have a good taste that guy ugh yeah Jack he was nice right. You are just anti-social. Back me up Adam.” She said crossing her arms over her chest.

“She is right, you are not very social.” He said and Rose nodded a little too much enthusiasm. “That’s not true.” April protested.

Okay, maybe it is true but she wasn’t going to agree. She had only two friends, she did go on dates and all but she didn’t feel she missed anything because she loved Adam who is not at all being supportive. He and Rose started talking about something while she searched for drinks. She was never much of a drinker plus she promised nana she won’t drink without adult supervision that is her nana itself or Rose’s parents might do. She said hi to some people from her class and poured herself a soda; half the people were already drunk. Don’t they have to work tomorrow?

“Come, let’s dance.” Adam said out of the blue scaring her a little. She shrugged and let him tug her along to the living room where people were scattered around dancing like maniacs.

“It’s so crowded.” She complained and tripped over something. Adam steadied her and kept his hand around her waist pulling her close to his side.

He slid his other hand to her waist and they started dancing. “What were you and Rose arguing about?” She asked curiously.

He sighed. “Well, do we ever need a reason argue?” Adam said. She chuckled, it was true. They were friends who fought all the time without any reason and April got dragged right into it even if she didn’t want to. “I was just looking out for her, she is so impulsive but obviously she didn’t listen.” He added.

She didn’t really understand why they fought so much; they have been friends since third grade. Whenever she asked Rose about it she just shrugged it off like nothing, it was kind of weird. She looked up to meet Adam brown eyes, they were sparkling and it just made her smile. He pulled back and spun her around; they both were laughing and having a good time. He is so sweet, it didn’t take her long to fall for him and he just understands her while most people don’t.

“So how is work? Anything interesting happened?” he asked with a small smile on his face. He is just too cute for his own good, why can’t he be with her? She thought.

She decided to answer him, he was waiting, and she can dwell over that later. “It’s good. I work at a library; the most interesting thing to happen is nothing. “ She said sarcastically with a smile and he chuckled.

She shrugged, it is true. Don’t get her wrong she loved working there being surrounded by books its good but can get dull. There were only two other employees except her but she needed a job and it pays well enough. She didn’t like burdening nana with all the responsibilities; she had taken care of her since she was 12 now it was her turn. She looked up again and gazed into Adam’s eyes, she had closed off after her parents but he and Rose crawled under her defenses. She was still scared of losing them, she loved her parents more than anything and when they were gone it hurt her a lot. She was only scared to lose anyone; it haunted her the thought of being alone.

“You zoned out.” Adam said making her look away from his beautiful eyes. “What’s going on? Do you have to be home soon?” he asked.

She had no idea what time it was. She stopped and pulled her mobile out, shit she was late. “Can you give me a ride home? Like now.” She asked.

“Yeah, let’s go.” He said with a smile guiding her to the parking, keeping her close to his side. Is he protective of her or is it something more? She could never tell.

She texted Rose that she was leaving but assured her that Adam will be coming back. They got into his car, it was dark and cold, scary but she was with Adam so it was ok. She looked over to him, he looked a lost, out of place. He has been pretty quiet all night. “Adam, you okay? You look lost. Is something wrong with you?” She asked softly.

He sighed. She stared at him, waiting for him to continue. “My dad wants me to join his friend’s business.” He said. She frowned so is this a bad thing? “It’s in Denver. I have to join as soon as possible probably in a couple of weeks or even less. It’s a good opportunity but leaving everything behind, family, you and Rose, I don’t if I can do it. I am confused. It’s scary April.” He said sadly and rested his head back.

Denver, what about her? April knew it was selfish but she couldn’t help it. “What do you want? You said its good right?” She questioned but couldn’t hide the sadness from her tone.

He nodded. “It’s an amazing opportunity especially for a fresher like me. ” He said. She processed all of this; she couldn’t believe she was going to say this, if that’s what he wants it was good enough for her.

“Then you should go. You will regret it if you don’t. If it doesn’t work out, you can always come back. But at least give it a shot.” She said softly and looked way. Don’t cry, not in front of him, he will get confused even more, she warned herself, Think about him not about yourself, don’t look at him or you will cry she explained myself.

“You are right.” He sighed. “What would I do without you?” he said and she looked at him. She didn’t know whether to cry or be happy, he is going away from her and that’s all she could think off.

She forced a smile and in seconds the car stopped. He got out as well. He hugged her tightly like he was saying goodbye and she couldn’t control anymore. She started crying and he just held her tighter whispering to her making everything seen alright. She pulled away and looked at him embarrassed. She was so crazy, who cries on someone like that, he will think she is crazy. “Don’t worry, I won’t forget about you. I still have a few days left to annoy you guys.” He said to lighten the mood. She slapped his arm playfully and smiled at him weakly before going back inside. She couldn’t say anything to him without her voice cracking, its better she didn’t say anything at all.

She went to Nana’s room making minimum noise, she was asleep with a book on her chest and her lamp still on. She smiled, nana always tried to stay awake till she got home. She picked up the book and set it on her side table, pulled her sheets up to her shoulders, kissed her forehead and put out the lights on her way out. She got changed quickly and got into her warm and soft bed. She hoped things don’t change between her and Adam after he heaves, who was she kidding? Off course they will change, everything will change again just this time she was not sure if she could move past it. She closed her eyes and drifted off to sleep.

Book Review: The Nightingale (Kristin Hannah).

The Nightingale

–    Kristin Hannah

A historical fiction, The Nightingale is set in France during the Nazi occupation of World War II. I picked up this book on a whim due to its historical setting. It is a book about the survival of two sisters Vianne and Isabelle during the war times. Its one of the first books I have read which is about women in war times.

The Nightingale has two main protagonists Vianne, the older sister and Isabelle the younger one. They had a troubled childhood after their mother’s death when their father sends them away. Isabelle’s personality and her personality has been shaped by the rejection she felt as a child that is constantly implied through her thinking. Vianne finds love at 14 and marries Antoine; she knows she neglected Isabelle for her own happiness and feels guilty about it.

 The characters are the winning grace of the story for me. Vianne and Isabelle are very different people but yet they are similar in more ways than they know. Both have a completely different approach to situations; Isabelle is impulsive and emotional while Vianne is more cautious about her decisions.

Isabelle meets Gaetan very early in the story and their meeting changes the course of Isabelle’s decision is joining the French resistance. The relationships between Isabelle and Gaetan and Vianne and Isabelle play an important part in the story but the book is so much more than a love story. Isabelle is codenamed ‘the Nightingale’ as she helps Allied pilots to get to safety from France. The story starts in the year 1995 and then it is told through the memories of an elderly woman.

 The literary device of frame story works really well for the book; as the first-person narration alternates between Vianne and Isabelle. Life starts getting more difficult for the sisters as Vianne loses her best friend, her job and she lives in a state of fear. The relationship between Vianne and Sophie, her daughter also changes as the story progresses. The loss of innocence is shown through Sophie’s character as she learns things far beyond her young age.

It became very difficult for me to read the book as it got closer to the end. It is heartbreaking and scary and sad and brave all at the same time. The ending of the book really threw me off; the author has never revealed who the elderly woman is but it was an expectation subversion for me. Isabelle is so brave and bold throughout the novel sometimes too quick to react but she is aware of the dangers she is inviting with her work. The relationship dynamics shift throughout the book. Vianne and Isabelle’s father finds a way to make up for his past neglect so does Vianne and Isabelle through all her tough exterior cares so much about her family. The ending of the story brought me to tears and I actually kept thinking about the book long after I finished reading it.

The Nightingale is an amazing book. The characters are so relatable and unique, you can’t help but root for them. The book is about the role women played during World War II but it is also about survival, family, relationships, and love. It is a must read.

*Get a copy by clicking on the book cover above.

My Favorite Short-Stories

My Favorite Short-Stories


Its very difficult for me to finish full-length classic novels at a good place; then I turn to short-stories. I have read quite a few short-stories by now and I have loved almost all of them. As a literature student, we had short-stories as a part of our syllabus and that in a way started my fascination for short fiction. I have listed my absolute favorite short-stories from the ones I have read so far.


1) The Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allen Poe

This was the first story by Edgar Allen Poe that I read and ended up loving it. The narrator of the story who has actually murdered someone is trying to convey to the readers his sanity throughout the story. The murder of the old man by the narrator is planned and then executed by him and it is hinted that the narrator suffers from some form of mental illness. The story is simply amazing with its element of thriller, suspense mixed with the right amount of creepy.

2) Winter Dreams by F. Scott Fitzgerald

The story which depicts the dark side of the American dream is my favorite short story by Fitzgerald. In some ways, I did find some aspects of the story similar to The Great Gatsby but that might be because read these two stories back to back. It is slightly longer than I had first anticipated but the plot has a good pace overall and it is an enjoyable read for sure. I liked the fact that we get the see Dexter, the protagonist since the age of 14 and to see the character development was a bonus aspect for me.

3) The Snows of Kilimanjaro by Ernest Hemingway

The story of The Snows of Kilimanjaro is focused on the central character of Harry, a writer, who is in Africa for a safari with his wife but gets injured and is dying of gangrene. The story jumps from the present to the past a few times through its course as Harry thinks about his life. The stream of consciousness narration gives a deeper and complete understanding of Harry’s characters with his flaws and strengths. It is one my all-time favorite short stories.

4) The Necklace by Guy de Maupassant

I read The Necklace twice, once in school and then once later. The first time honestly, I didn’t concentrate much, I read it because I had to. The second time I read it, I actually appreciated it. It is simple yet so meaningful. The theme of appearance versus the reality is pretty subtle throughout the plot but it’s a constant. The ending of the story is completely unexpected, I didn’t see it coming and it elevates the story. It is a must read.

5) The Nightingale and the Rose by Oscar Wilde

A story of a lovestruck boy who must find a red rose for the girl he likes in order to win her heart. The start of the story is pretty simple but then the plot takes an unexpected turn; the nightingale decides to help the boy find a red rose for the girl after he hears the boy’s lamenting. This story shows the materialistic aspect of love. As a reader, one is left thinking if the nightingale’s sacrifice was worth it. It is one of my favorite short stories; sad yet realistic.

These five short stories are my favorites short-stories of the ones I have read as of now. I am sure there will be many additions to this list in the future and there are so many more short stories I haven’t even got around to reading yet.

Wish

Wish

I wish I could tell you,

What you mean to me.

I wish I could tell you,

That you are constantly on my mind.

I wish there was way to tell you,

How I feel about you and,

How much I actually care,

Without ever losing you.

I wish I could pour my heart out,

If it made you stay.

I wish I could tell you,

Everything you make me feel,

But I can’t,

I can only wish.

Lost

Lost

Lost in the void,

A place deep within,

Felt something was amiss.

Lost in the void,

The tunnel grew darker and melancholic.

Stuck without any light,

Wanted to stop or be stopped,

It was nothing but false hope.

The void grew bigger as did the darkness,

And with no way out,

The battle was lost.

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Book review: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (Mark Twain).

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

-Mark Twain.

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is a sequel to the book The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. It’s in Tom Sawyer that Huck first appears but this book definitely can be read as a standalone. I read this book as standalone since I am yet to read Tom Sawyer completely. A story about a boy from a Mississippi River Town recounts his adventures when he travels down the river with a runaway slave named Jim. The setting of the book is rustic and it takes place in the nineteenth century before the Civil War in America.

The novel is about friendship, identity, racism, freedom, and war. The gradual change in the character of Huck Finn is so interesting. This novel by Mark Twain is considered to be The Great American Novel. I had studied about Mark Twain in my American Literature class in college and I always wanted to read it because it’s one of a kind. It’s the first novel of American literature which is actually written in an American vernacular. The language of the descriptions and dialogues is the way Americans actually speak. Before this novel American writers imitated the European style of writing and language. It was a revolutionary novel of the time.

The novel sheds light on the topic of identity and race. The novel since its publication has been controversial. The novel though is anti-racism; it is believed by many to be racially insensitive and stereotyping towards the African American community. The use of the word ‘nigger’ is offending and vulgar and there are editions where that word has been replaced. While reading the book it does seem too much, a little crude maybe but you have to consider the time it was written in as well. It has a pretty good pace and managed to keep me intrigued by the unfolding of the story.

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is such an important novel because of its content. The book has managed to be lighthearted and witty even while dealing with the heavy theme of racism. The characters are intriguing and the plot moves ahead at a good pace and it never gets dull. Honestly, it took some time for me to finish the novel even when I liked it like it is the case when I am reading any classic but it is definitely a good read.

*Get a copy by clicking on the book cover above.

Book Review: The Age of Innocence (Edith Wharton).

The Age of Innocence.

–    Edith Wharton.

I picked up this book with few expectations because honestly, I didn’t know much about the writer or the novel itself. Once I started reading it though, I was delightfully surprised. I had to read a little about the age and times in America when the novel is set to make it easier for myself to understand the story in context.

The book begins with the impending marriage of Newland Archer and May Welland, enters May’s cousin the Countess Ellen Olenska who returns to New York City after many years living abroad. Newland is fascinated with the independent and worldly Ellen whose personality is in a way opposite of May’s personality. A sort of love triangle is formed in the story as the plot progresses with Newland, May, and Ellen. Newland is torn by his conscience to keep his promise to May while a part of him longs for freedom he could have with Ellen; the inner conflict of his character is relatable and human. The Age of Innocence is a social commentary about the society in the 1870s and their concerns with at times trivial things but the hypocrisy that persisted makes you cringe.

The novel is set in 1870’s New York City in the “Gilded Age” which I had to read about a little beforehand; it focuses on upper-class characters living in New York City. The main focus is on an upper-class couple who are due to get married when the bride’s cousin who is plagued by scandals arrives and suddenly the couple’s future becomes uncertain. The novel effectively comments about the society at that time in New York City; about their moral misgivings, hypocrisies and cruelties in the period before World War I and during it as well. The society shown in the novel has no proper sense left of cultural sensibilities and it is in a way of losing its cultural identity.

A tale about love, passion, society, irony, acceptance, and struggle; this book captures perfectly what the society was like at the time where their morals and ethics were questionable and they had drifted away from culture. This classic is definitely among the best and shouldn’t be missed out on.

*Get a copy by clicking on the book cover above.

In My Dreams

In My Dreams

 

In my dreams I always find you,

Though in reality we are far apart.

In my dreams everything about us is rosy,

In reality it is grim.

I find a place to belong in my dreams,

Because I always end up in your arms.

Only in my dreams, you are mine,

And I am yours.